Skip to main content

Microenterprise home kitchen operations gains traction in California during COVID-19 (By Jacob Fry)


On September 18th, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law
Assembly Bill (AB) 626, which became effective in January of 2019. This law formally allowed cities and counties to legalize microenterprise home kitchen operations across the state of California. As of January 2020, only Riverside county had adopted AB 626, but the pressure is mounting for more counties, specifically Los Angeles and San Bernardino, to adopt it as well.

CA Assembly Bill 626

CA Assembly Bill 626 passed with bipartisan support and allowed chefs and home cooks to start small operations out of their homes known as a microenterprise home kitchen operation, or MEHKO. These operations can choose delivery, take-out, or dine-in options. Cooks wanting to start a home kitchen must go through a permitting process, pass health inspections, and can only generate up to $50,000 in gross sales annually. Though gross sales are capped annually, being able to earn up to $50,000 annually with a roughly $1,000 investment is a pretty good return for someone who is trying to start in the industry and gain a customer base, or for someone who recently lost their job due to COVID-19 and is looking for something to do until they can find another job. This bill, however, has not been adopted across the whole state of California as each country must sign this bill into law for their individual county.

MEHKO’s in the Face of COVID-19

When COVID-19 first started in March, many restaurants were forced to close their indoor dining and do take out only. Now, seven months later, some restaurants have had to close their doors, leaving an estimated 8 million employees laid off nation-wide. AB 626 is a way for those employees to start their own place at a low cost until they could find more permanent work again, or be able to prove their concept to start their own restaurant one day. However, major counties like Los Angeles and San Bernardino have yet to adopt the law, causing many home cooks to try and lobby for them to adopt the law.

Foodnome

A new California based company called Foodnome assists home cooks in lobbying for the bill to be passed in their county and then helps them set up their home kitchen. For $1,000, Foodnome walks a home cook through the permitting process, and then allows them access to their platform, which allows customers to order food to-go, for delivery, or dine-in at their home. They help market and grow businesses, and have become especially popular during COVID-19.

The Future of MEHKO’s

With MEHKO’s becoming more popular, counties like Los Angeles and San Bernardino could be forced to follow suit. New and upcoming chefs could turn to this option to get their name out there and test new concepts, signaling a new shift in the restaurant industry. 

Will MEHKO’s be adopted throughout all of California? Would you eat from a MEHKO? How will this change the restaurant industry, if adopted more widely? 

About the Author 

Jacob is a fourth-year Hospitality Management major at the Collins College at Cal Poly Pomona. He is involved with the Kellogg Honors College and ETA Sigma Delta, the international hospitality honor society. He currently works at Flying Rice as a chef and is the executive director of Plants 4 the People. He one day hopes to open his own restaurant.

Picture source: https://foodpreneurinstitute.com/ab-626-cottage-law/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Do you know where your prospects hang out during the #DeleteFacebook movement?

Facebook used to the cool place where everybody hangs out. Not long ago, Facebook was ranked the most visited website in the world , and the website where Americans spent the most time. Facebook page then became the most popular social media platform for business-to-consumer communications among various types of organizations. In recent years, however, Facebook faced several backlashes toward the platform’s data privacy practices and its CEO. Facebook is experiencing some challenges of maintaining its popularity among internet users, some of whom even call for a #DeleteFacebook movement . I myself, also notice a shift in my teenaged students’ interest in Facebook, even before the #DeleteFacebook backlash. So, if Facebook is no longer the cool place where everybody hangs out, which social media platforms can we use to communicate with our prospective consumers? The most popular social media platforms among U.S. teens According to a 2018 Pew Research Center report

Are neighbors friends or foes? A study of Airbnb listings' agglomeration effect

“Location, location, location.” Location is often perceived as the most important factor when people assess the value of a home or property. In the lodging industry, location is an essential attribute of a property and can significantly affect a hotel’s financial performance. Airbnb and the broader home-sharing businesses represent a new form of lodging products. Location is also a significant, influential factor that affects travelers’ purchasing decisions of a home-sharing stay.   Recent research suggests that Airbnb listings are usually found in such popular locations as tourist attractions and points of interest. When more Airbnb listings are located in the same neighborhood, the competition will become more intense.   Intense competition can be harmful to businesses, especially when they enter a price war. If that’s the case, why would Airbnb hosts choose to operate their short-term residential rental businesses in the neighborhood with oth

Promoting student success in the STR Student Market Study Competition

Cal Poly Pomona students placed second at the STR Student Market Study Competition I was in New York City (NYC) over the Veterans Day weekend for the HX: The Hotel Experience 2019 , one of the most important trade shows in the lodging industry . Similar to last year’s trade show , the HX 2019 also entailed four components, including HX: The Marketplace, HX: The Conference, Boutique Design New York, and the STR (Smith Travel Research) Student Market Study Competition.   STR is the leading data analytics provider for the lodging industry. Since its debut in 2015, the STR Student Market Study Competition (the STR Competition hereafter) has received significant attention from the hospitality programs around the world. This year, over 20 students from the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona traveled to NYC for HX 2019. Moreover, six of them also participated in the STR Competition for the first time. In the end, the Cal Poly Pomona team